What is your relationship like with forgiveness?
If someone did you wrong, do you hold on to the pain? Do you hold grudges? Or are you easily able to let things go?
And what about self forgiveness…
Do you find it difficult to let yourself off the hook after living in dis-alignment? If you’ve done something wrong or let yourself down in some way, do you hold on to guilt & self resentment?
How do you move past the hurt? Whether it’s being able to forgive yourself or someone else…what would it take for you to release what’s causing you harm so that you can fully forgive and liberate yourself?
Practicing meditation is one way to tune into your own thoughts and feelings and release those that don’t belong to you. Here is a guided practice focused on creating calm & deep relaxation for more clarity & spaciousness — click here
If you struggle with forgiveness and find that it’s blocking you from being able to heal and move through your life with ease and a sense of freedom, there are some powerful & proven practices/techniques that you can try to help you finally learn to forgive!
Forgiveness is for YOU
In order to forgive, you must be able to understand what it means to forgive in the first place. And so defining what forgiveness means to you can be the first step toward healing yourself.
A beautiful definition of forgiveness that I find resonates with me and may also resonate with you is the following—
“Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person or group that has hurt you, regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness or not. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing/condoning such offenses.”
The most important takeaway in the above definition is that forgiveness is a practice entirely for YOU. It’s NOT for the other person. You’re not letting someone off the hook by being able to forgive. And it doesn’t make you weak either. Its a practice that actually takes great courage & strength to pursue. Forgiveness frees YOU from continued suffering.
Forgiveness is Freeing
Once you can define what forgiveness means to you, you can then take the next step which is to get really clear about what it is that you’re holding to and why. Then understand that it is YOUR responsibility to now do the work of healing yourself from whatever is blocking you from not being able to forgive.
Because if you no longer want to live with constant feelings of anger/resentment, it is up to you to change that. This requires a deep level of self awareness & compassion.
Forgiving is being able to understand. And to understand what you’re moving through, requires you to be aware, or witness to your life and all of which unfolds in it, with non judgement. It means dropping into your body, getting still enough so that you can hear & feel out what you’re experiencing from within. When you can understand, you can begin moving through the process of letting go. You offer yourself room for freedom!
Forgive or NOT to Forgive
Forgiveness is a conscious and deliberate decision that we make. Meaning we must put in the work in order to move past the pain.
When you forgive, you’re offering yourself freedom from the pain, the hurt, the negative energetic pull that has been bringing you down. This in turn, allows for you to finally live in full alignment, no longer attached to a story that doesn’t serve you.
It’s okay to feel angry. It’s okay to feel stressed. These emotions are actually healthy and important. They offer us insight into what we’re experiencing and provide us messages on what direction to go. When anger & stress are experienced chronically & persistently, & becomes deeply rooted in who you are, that’s when they start to become problematic, in which they start to create negative health effects— where your mind, body, & spirit greatly suffer.
The Healing Process
Ultimately, it is important to forgive yourself because the healing process cannot begin until you free yourself from the anger, resentment, and disappointment that comes with unforgiveness. You can’t be a better you until you forgive yourself, make note of the lessons you learned from your mistake, and move on.
Here are three practical steps you can take to make forgiving yourself or others easier—
- Brain Dump (Journaling):
This is a great place to begin your forgiveness journey. Getting your thoughts on paper can bring you clarity about what you’re experiencing. This is a moment where you can get really real with yourself. Don’t hold back. Release it all. Write freely in your journal, including as many details about the issue as you can. What or who is causing you pain, anger, resentment? Who are you not forgiving & why? Go deep.
2. Flip it & Reverse it:
Often times when we make a mistake or done something we’re not proud of, we go hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up, condemn ourselves over and over, and it brings us to feel shame & disappointment. This is not healthy. Especially because when we ruminate in our wrong doing, it has the potential to lead us to forget alll the good we’ve ever done. An alternative approach would be when you have those thoughts and feelings, aim to instead recognize them and then replace them with positive truthful thoughts. A self forgiving meditation can work beautifully here.
Here’s an example —
“I recognize that I have done wrong. I also recognize that I am a human, and humans are flawed creatures. No matter how hard I strive, I am not and will never be perfect. My actions (or my words) have caused someone that I care about to be hurt. I accept full responsibility for my actions and I will take the steps necessary to rectify my wrongdoings. If the relationship has been destroyed beyond repair, I will accept the consequences and work hard to keep similar actions from happening again. I will not beat myself up repeatedly for this or any other mistake. I will, however, make a conscious effort not to make this mistake in the future.”
3. Use Affirmations:
Speaking love, truth, compassion, words that will help uplift you can be very helpful on your journey of being able to forgive. Here are some of my favorite affirmations. Feel free to recite these to yourself on a daily basis or you can create some of your own.
-I forgive myself so that I can forgive others.
-I release my past so that I can step into my future.
-I accept that I did the best that I could at the time. Now that I know better, I will do better.
-I am ready to move on.
-I acknowledge my faults and completely forgive myself.
-I no longer choose to beat myself up. What happened is in the past.
-I am love & I am loved.
-Self-forgiveness is a choice. I choose to forgive myself.
-I am a good person.